Fernando Alonso: “I enjoyed myself a lot out on track”

Both Scuderia Ferrari drivers made it through to the final part of qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, with Fernando Alonso securing fifth position on the grid and Kimi Raikkonen tenth.

With the rumours of his imminent departure from the team still hanging over his head, Alonso admitted to enjoying himself during the qualifying session, and feels the weekend has been a positive one for himself so far in Japan. He is a little bit worried about what the weather could possibly do on Sunday, especially with no wet weather running so far this weekend to fall back on.

“I’ve often ended up fifth in qualifying, but I think that today’s result can be seen in a different light as I enjoyed myself a lot out on track, both in the quick parts and the slower ones,” said Alonso. “So far, this weekend has been very positive as I had a good feeling from the car right from the first lap of free practice.

“Unfortunately, the typhoon expected tomorrow is creating a bit of tension, because over the past two days, we haven’t done any wet running and having to do the opening lap of the race itself in the rain always complicates matters. Currently, we don’t know how much rain we can expect, so all we can do is prepare for a difficult race, because Suzuka is a circuit where, even in the dry, incidents can occur and it’s easy to make mistakes.”

Team-mate Raikkonen could only qualify tenth, and felt the few little issues that have plagued his weekend so far were reflected in his qualifying position, and he knows he will have to push hard on Sunday to get a good result.

“Today’s performance was in line with the whole weekend so far and even if I’ve had a good feeling from the car, I was unable to resolve a few problems already encountered on Friday,” said Raikkonen. “In the morning’s free practice, a technical problem meant I had to stop running earlier than planned and that prevented us from testing some new components, which would have been useful for the set-up choice.

“The team did a great job to get my car ready for qualifying in record time. In the first sector, I had a few balance problems and that stopped me pushing as hard as I wanted. I did my best today and tomorrow we will try and make up some places and have a good race.”